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The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund

We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
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Vi Blanchard has commented on (9) products.

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater by Frank Bruni
Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater

Vi Blanchard, August 20, 2009

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater is to the disease of compulsive eating what The Lost Weekend was to alcoholism.

Frank Bruni serves up a surprisingly digestible bouillabaisse of eclectic ingredients that include autobiography, celebrity, fad dieting, haute cuisine and addiction. This sometimes rollicking, sometimes sobering, always engaging tale of a food fiend turned restaurant critic is a textbook case history of a compulsive eater that manages to illuminate this epidemic American addiction in a palatable serving of anecdotes, recipes and family history.

Born into an Italian family with big big appetites, Bruni knows from childhood that when it comes to food, he is different. Bruni describes a ferocious infant appetite and suggests that he was a bulimic, even in the high chair. As his eating takes him on an odyssey of grotesque binges, fad diets, compulsive exercise, Mexican diet pills, fasting, laxatives, denial, and obesity, he finds his true calling as the restaurant reviewer for The New York Times.

Like an alcoholic wine critic, he embarks on a career binge wherein he is given the green light to lovingly indulge in and describe his addictive excesses. Somehow, he makes a deal with his addiction, trading discipline for recovery, managing to manage his weight for a time, but still wondering if he will ever be relieved of his compulsion to eat. Discipline is fine for awhile, but then an epic binge teaches him that he cannot stop. He throws in the towel and leaves the restaurant reviewing to someone else with leaner appetites.

This story is wildly insightful about the disease of compulsive eating without being a self-indulgent addiction memoir. Instead, it lays bare the heartbreaking reality that is the life of a food addict, and helps to educate us all about a disease that is killing more of us than we know. Somehow, this is a really entertaining read, and that's a good thing, because this is tough stuff to digest. Tough, but well worth the effort.
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The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann
The Love Machine

Vi Blanchard, February 7, 2007

Yummy! The girl glitterati of Rat Pack era New York are in a lather over sexy television bigwig Robin Stone. But these models, actresses and showgirls wouldn't be catfighting over this stud if they knew about his problems in the sack. Suffice to say that Robin's got a mommy thing and it ain't pretty. Once again, trash diva Jacqueline Susann has left us with a luscious slice of beach reading that's chock-full of lame Freudianism and top-shelf naughtiness. Nowhere else but in a JS novel will you EVER hear a character say, "Her c--ze has seen more action than the Lincoln Tunnel..." And that's just scratching the sidewalls. God bless you Jackie S!
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Abraham & Mary Lincoln:House Divided
Abraham & Mary Lincoln:House Divided

Vi Blanchard, February 7, 2007

Okay, "splendid" is a not a word I often use, but there is no other way to describe this wonderful dual biography about Abraham and Mary Lincoln. Like the nation, these two experienced struggle, separation and incredible loss. She took that experience shopping -- literally -- by indulging in compulsive shopping that left her financially and emotionally bankrupt. He transformed his pain into a blood baptism that was meant to absolve the nation of the sin of slavery. She died, mad and alone. He died a hero. Lavish, moving and engaging, you don't have to love history to revel in this tale about the marriage between two of America's pivotal figures.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Alcoholics Anonymous 2nd Edition 5th Printing

Vi Blanchard, February 3, 2007

You don't have to be affected by alcoholism to appreciate this classic of 20th Century literature. Written in the 1930's but light years ahead of its time, this is a must-read for any literate, English-speaking person. Beyond its sometimes dramatic and idiosyncratic writing is a powerful message of acceptance and healing. And its personal stories offer a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of extraordinary people during the early and middle decades of the last century.
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The Girls in 3-B (Femmes Fatales: Women Write Pulp) by Valerie Taylor
The Girls in 3-B (Femmes Fatales: Women Write Pulp)

Vi Blanchard, February 3, 2007

This little dilly inspired the melodramatic but weirdly progressive cartoon soap opera, "The Girls in Apartment 3G." It's got it all: sordid beatnik drug parties, mop-haired anti-establishment tools, vague father-daughter incest, lesbianism... WHEW! With all the action they've got going on, it's amazing these girls are able to pay the rent. Oh wait. One of them is doing it with the super, so they get a break on their monthly bill. Why waste your time on People Magazine when you can spend an hour with the Girls in 3-B?
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